Thursday, March 26, 2015

cultivation | photos

Some shots from yesterday's dress rehearsal of CULTIVATION.  Four more chances to see this script-in-hand presentation of a play from our playwright development program Working With!

Monday, March 23, 2015

cultivation | first read

This morning we gathered for the first read of CULTIVATION, a script-in-hand presentation of a new play by Krista Marushy. This is the first in-season presentation to come out of our Working With play development program, so we couldn't be more excited to see this on its feet! This week only, performances Wednesday-Saturday.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

the whipping man | interview with the director

Before THE WHIPPING MAN opened, we chatted with director Anthony F. Ingram a bit about the play.  Here are his thoughts.

What excites you about this story?

As Canadians we generally consider ourselves free of racism. We’re quite smug about the racial tensions that bubble up within the USA, thinking that we’ve gotten over that sort of sordid squabbling up here. But really, our form of racism is more insidious and subtle. It expresses itself through entitlement, cultural segregation and appropriation, and a laziness with regard to exploring and understanding other cultural perspectives. And I see these themes being scratched at in this story where people of two minority groups are struggling with how to deal with each other once a new regime has been announced. Through a simple story - and there is really nothing remarkable about the story at all - we’re giving a multi-faceted look at racism on both a personal and systemic level. The story is framed - both historically and ritually - within events of reconciliation; yet, there’s a tenuousness and fragility that is really quite frightening.

Slavery is often seen as a historical issue, how does this story connect to current issues?

I think slavery is really only a symptom of one of the worst of human characteristics: this tendency to separate into distinct groups and demonize those other groups; and slavery is just one step away from genocide on the demonization spectrum. The fact that some Canadians are delineated as Asian-Canadian, Afro-Canadian or Indo-Canadian and yet, for some reason, I am entitled - as a person of northern european descent - to be delineated as “Canadian”. Why are these hyphens necessary for some people and not others? Why can’t every Canadian citizen be called “Canadian”? This, in my mind, is an example of the notion that “some are more equal than others”, and it’s an issue I wrestle with myself. I think that as long as we have this notion of difference, we are still subject to sliding down that spectrum of demonization.

Another part of slavery is the issue of rights. We’re a culture that’s big on “rights”: free speech, religion, privacy, the list goes on. However, we often demand these rights at the expense of the rights of other people. We forget that with every right comes a responsibility: a responsibility to afford those same rights to all others and consider how exercising those rights affects the lives of those around us. If I have a right to carry a weapon, I have a responsibility to ensure that no one is threatened or harmed unduly by that weapon. I have a right to express myself in any manner I desire - but I also have a responsibility to recognize the effect my words may have on how others think, feel and act. I think this is quite relevant to the here and now - especially in light of terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and media outlets deciding whether or not to run potentially offensive cartoons. As a society, and in a world that keeps getting ‘smaller’, we’re still trying to figure out how to balance this tension of rights and responsibilities - and the characters in The Whipping Man are just starting that journey.

Tell me about the creative team - what are you looking forward to about working with this group?

Drew Facey always brings in an amazing sense of place and artistry to a production. I’ve not seen a design of his that didn’t serve the script beautifully - even when the production as a whole seems to fail, his designs succeed. Laughlin Johnston has worked deft magic with lighting and he’ll do the same with this one. I get to try out a new costume designer in Amy McDougall and that’s always a frightening and exciting prospect. Jeff Tymoschuk is a master of cinematic soundscapes and this script, with its historical setting, will give him huge scope within which to play.

What do you foresee as the biggest challenge for this play?

I think balancing the personal histories of the characters against the larger historical setting will be something that we have to be very aware of. We think we know what the story is about. It’s about slaves getting their freedom. Well, yes, but that’s merely a generality. We’ll have to be more specific than that. We have to get into what this new set of rights means to these specific people and what responsibilities are conferred to them along with those rights. If the production is to be immediate and relevant, it’s in that struggle that we need to engage the audience. Otherwise, it becomes a mere historical piece.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

april 2 | auditions | the taming of the shrew

Actors!  Apprentice Eleanor Felton is holding auditions for her year-end project: THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.  It's a fun 1950's revisiting of the two shrews.

Show dates: June 24-28
Rehearsals: Part time May and June
Audition dates: April 2nd 3-6pm, April 3rd 11-2pm
Audition location: Pacific Theatre (1440 W 12th Ave)

Signora Baptista/Servant

Most characters will be double cast.

Please prepare a 1-2 minute classical monologue. Please send a headshot and resume to along with your preferred audition time, and your potential availability for rehearsals.

Callbacks will likely be early in the following week.

Monday, March 16, 2015

the whipping man | responses

"What a fantastic production and what a brilliant play! I was on the edge of my seat for the whole show. All three actors give out superb performances, the design is absolutely stunning and the story is pretty amazing – full of twists and turns and at the same time quite profound and touching. Best show I’ve seen at Pacific since Jesus Hopped the A Train and possibly the best show I’ve seen in Vancouver all year. Well done!" | Itai Erdal, website comment

"Yet another compelling, must-see play at Pacific Theatre. Outstanding acting all around, gripping and haunting story, evocative set, beautiful lighting. The brief bursts of magically soulful singing from Simon (Tom Pickett) added further depth and, given the celebration in his singing, also added tragic irony. I highly recommend this intensely moving play." | Nancy B, website comment

"Theatre does not get much better than this – our attention is completely absorbed and we are transported to another time and place, yet by material that speaks to issues with which we still wrestle." | Tova Kornfeld, The Jewish Independent

"The production, however, directed by Anthony F. Ingram, is epic, historically interesting and visually wonderful under Lauchlin Johnston’s evocative and dingy lighting. And the performances by Pickett, Kennedy and Mocibob are excellent." | Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier

" was so very good. So thoroughly compelling, engaging, enthralling, and many other ing words. I recognized Tom, but I don't think those could have been the other two actors; I have seen them both before in multiple roles, and they were not the same guys. I'm kind of used to actors becoming different people - it's kind of what they too - but they were transformed into such different roles than I had seen them in before that they honestly were unrecognizable to me as the same actors. Wow. The set, Anthony's direction, the lighting, all wow." | Audience Email

"I did get in and I am SO grateful to have been in the audience for one of the best productions I have seen in… ages. Script, direction, performances, set design, costume design and lighting. ABSOLUTELY incredible. I’ve been talking it up all over the place. People need to pack the seats to see what you folks have managed to accomplish with this show. It is not only a testament to the artistry of what is possible in with theatre but a nutritious intellectual meal. I’m particularly grateful to have gone on a night with an artist talkback. I’m trying to figure out how to go again and who to drag with me." | Audience Email

"A fascinating and affecting drama that is immensely satisfying. If you like stories about race relations and the aftermath of civil war intrigue you and you like to clutch your heart because dynamic powerful actors are likely going to rip it out, then this is the show for you." | David C Jones, OutTV

"Carl Kennedy, who plays John, is one of the most mercurial and charismatic actors you’re ever going to see. His portrait brims with playfulness, intelligence, wit—and emotional depth. I’ve never seen Tom Pickett look better: he’s having a great time and he delivers nuanced and heartfelt work as Simon. In some ways, Caleb may be the most difficult role: after the surgery, Caleb barely moves, and he’s the former slave owner in a play about race in America. Still, Giovanni Mocibob offers an intriguing combination of innocence and guilt, good intentions and privileged blindness." | Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

"[The Whipping Man is] a fascinating piece of historical fiction. That it still resonates is strangely comforting, and equally chilling." | Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

"It's taken me this long to process The Whipping Man. Yikes! So, I've seen Civil War movies, read books, watched TV - I'm no expert on the subject but I feel at least somewhat familiar with the events. North wins/South loses; slavery ends and the president gets shot. And a few years ago I found out that my great great grandfather fought in the Southern Navy - interesting bit of family lore.

Then along come 3 characters on a small stage in a gripping story and it became personal. Then the actors come out for the Q&A and Carl talked about how the script grabbed him, I choked right up. It became so real and close. What happened was that a pronoun shifted and moved in - I am the great great granddaughter of a confederate soldier and that gives me a great deal to think about.

So there. Sigh. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing." | Lorri R, Audience Email

"The Whipping Man is an excellent drama." | John Jane, Review Vancouver

"Wow, another amazing and powerful play done by PT! My hubby and neighbour loved it as well.
As always, the set design and lighting were phenomenal and the cast was fabulous!!!! WELL Done!" | Anne Chandler, Email Response

From the Twitter Feed:

@RandiEdmundson: Got to see some fabulous work tonight at @PacificTheatre The Whipping Man was great! ... and a just a little gross. #blood #ptwhippingman
@DianeLTucker: Oh you SO got it right! Stunning!
@genevieve_f: Congrats to the opening of #ptWhippingMan! Powerful, moving, with knockout performances and gorgeous design. See this show!